Multicultural country: Japan?!

Shiori Miyake

Even today, some people think Japan is as a homogenous ethnic country but in reality, is it? We have the Okinawans, Ainus, Buraku, Zainichi and others as we learnt in class, and also many immigrants from foreign countries willing to move into Japan. Putting aside the argument of either a multicultural society is good or bad, as international population migration becomes more active and as the problems of ethnic minorities stand out, Japan may not keep its status quo. It is time for Japan to accept a diversity of ethnic groups inside and also coming from abroad.

First of all, what is a multicultural society? A multicultural society is said to be a society based on a multiculturalism principles, meaning a country consisting of multiple ethnic groups having their own culture and nationality valued, and coexistence is done. Now, I would like to look at the countries that are said to be a successful example and a model of a multicultural society; Canada and Australia.

Canada in its history, was a country consist of habitan (French immigrants) and Britain immigrants. Difference in language, culture and lifestyle has provoked a split in the country, so in order to maintain Canada; there was the need to unify the two big groups together and Canada installed multicultural policies.

ForAustralia, it is similar but they wanted to break away with the strong white supremacy they had and accepted Asian immigrants inside for integration with Asia. As a result, Australia had to assimilate the Asian immigrants they had accepted, and seek for multicultural measures. For both examples, the care for other ethnic minorities was only a by-product.

I only explained briefly, but Canada and Australia have accepted a diversity of ethnic groups inside their countries, partly concluding in their policies. However, to the question, “can Japan be like these two countries?”, the answer would be “no.” The circumstances for enact of policies and state configuration is different. There are points that could be helpful, but unlike Japan, both countries had multicultural policy clearly stated and developed by the government leading. Japanese government has long time not been able to dispel the homogenous principle attitude, and hasn’t established any measures even it has been over thirty years since massive influx of foreign people.

What I wanted to say in this blog post, is a simple thing; this is only one way of thinking, but Japan has to create its own model and method of a multicultural society. There are still prejudice and discrimination against non-Japanese ethnic groups inJapan, since it has been a closed community for a long time. However, there are already ethnic minorities, and also immigrants coming from abroad. Japan is in need to transfer from the state of ethnic groups “living in divided areas” to “coexistence,” and it is important for us Japanese to think of a way to create a better society for us all.

One thought on “Multicultural country: Japan?!

  1. Hello! I enjoyed reading your post, and agree with you. As you say, Canada and Australia are both multicultural countries, but we Japanese cannot follow the ways which two countries did. In Japan, discrimination and prejudice for minorities are some hidden because the population of minorities is smaller than the two countries. Therefore it is difficult to find them. However, it is certain that there are discrimination and prejudice for minorities in Japan.
    To eliminate discrimination and prejudice, I think Japanese should change the idea for the minorities. If law changes, it is difficult to change the idea of Japanese. So we have to learn and think about minorities in Japan. And also, acting to change the circumstance is important. In conclusion, I think that the most important thing is continuing thinking and acting alternately.
    Thank you for reading!

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